Villanova Wildcats (21-10, 9-9 Big East)
Big East Tournament Seed: No. 10; play No. 15 South Florida on Tuesday (7 p.m. on ESPNU).
Head Coach: Jay Wright has become one of the best coaches in the country, and under his tenure, Villanova has become one of the elite teams in the Big East. This version of the Wildcats isn’t one of their most talented in recent years, but they are still dangerous, and under Wright, you know they are a threat.
Team MVP: When senior guard Corey Fisher, who's the Wildcats’ leading scorer at over 15 points per game, plays well 'Nova usually wins. The All-Big East Second-Teamer struggled down the stretch and it showed as Villanova lost four in a row to close out Big East regular-season play. In three of those four losses, Fisher hasn’t reached double digits in points. Fisher is the Wildcats' most important player and they’ll need him to play well offensively, if they hope to have a good showing in both in the Big East and NCAA Tournament.
Playing For: Better seeding in the NCAA Tournament. A good showing here can help erase the bad taste of the final four regular season games, and help restore a solid seed. A quick loss or pedestrian tournament, and Villanova could find themselves in a tough spot as a No. 7 seed.
Breakdown: Villanova gets its scoring from its senior back court and the two Coreys: Fisher and Stokes. But its big men are paramount to their success. If they can get offensive production from big-men Mouphtaou Yarou and Antonio Pena, they will put up a lot of points and will be tough to beat.
Villanova is a veteran team, and under Wright, you can’t be shocked if they make a run in the league tournament. Stokes and Fisher have been there before and there’s enough talent around them that Villanova can beat anyone in the conference. However the Wildcats recent play is alarming, so it will be interesting to see which 'Nova team shows up for the tournament. They’re the best free-throw shooting team in the conference (75.3 percent), which could help during these conference tournament games that often come down to the wire.
-- written by Chris Celletti.